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The Nouveau ’49er for Holiday 2014, in a new boucle-accented plaid. See them here and here!

The Pendleton 49’er is a perfect illustration of the adage that quality never goes out of style.

This jacket is an American classic, still going strong after more than sixty years. But where did it come from?

The answer starts with the changes for women in World War II, when American women proclaimed, “We can do it.” Rosie the Riveter’s  WWII image was used in countless posters and bond drives during WWII. A serious woman dressed for hard work with her hair in a kerchief, Rosie’s image still fixes us today, gazing out at onlookers over a flexed bicep.

She was a symbol of women stepping up to fill the need for factory workers during wartime, but she was also part of the emergence of one of Pendleton’s most enduring items of womenswear: the 49’er jacket.

Pendleton’s success with men’s shirts had happened twenty years earlier, but during WWII, men were not the only people enjoying distinctive plaids and ombres in pure virgin wool. Women began to borrow men’s work shirts for both work and warmth. It’s possible that by wearing their husband’s shirts, women kept the memories of their husbands, fiancés and brothers close, though many undoubtedly needed some serious work wear that was simply not available for women at the time. Whatever the reason, women loved Pendleton shirts.

In 1949, when market research identified an opportunity for sportswear for women, Pendleton entered the market with their first women’s line. This was a test offering of classic skirts, jackets and shirt, to test exactly how the American woman would react to a branded line of virgin wool sportswear. The positive response was resounding, but no one could have predicted the enormous success of a single garment introduced that year.

Says Linda Parker, head of Pendleton Communications, “The first women’s line in 1949 was composed of five items.  It is amazing to me that out of such a limited initial offering that the 49’er would develop such an immediate following and reputation.”  The jacket referred to both the year of its introduction, and the California Gold Rush, in a nod to Pendleton’s Western roots.

The designer was Berte Wiechmann, a young woman who came to Pendleton from Jantzen,  another iconic Portland apparel company. Miss Wiechmann sewed the original samples herself, taking styling particulars from the Pendleton men’s shirt. The 49’er jacket featured discreet tucking at the yoke, and two bias-cut patch pockets near the hem. The boxy cut showcased Pendleton’s famous plaids, and larger iridescent shell buttons softened the look.

Miss Weichmann was very particular about these buttons. She insisted on a special black shell from Australia and Tahiti, supplied by J. Carnucci & Sons, NJ.

In 1956 alone, Pendleton would use $150,000.00 worth of these buttons.

Yes. You read that correctly. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of buttons alone, in 1956.

The desirability of the 49’er was immediate, despite the introductory retail price range of $14.95 to $17.95. Says Parker, “We have many testimonials of how young women saved their babysitting and strawberry-picking money in order to buy a 49’er.  Women everywhere had it on their wish list of gifts.” The first consumer was the collegiate girl, who were in the grips of a menswear inspired trend. The 49’er was perfect over a white cotton dress shirt over “trews,” narrow wool pants.

The first print ad for the 49’er ad was done by Fred Love in 1950. A college girl in a MacLamond tartan 49’er pretends to ignore the cartoonish interest of the college boy behind her, snug and stylish in her 49’er. Love continued to illustrate the ads through 1951, when famed illustrator Ted Rand took over the job of communicating the Pendleton 49’er with ads that are still iconically beautiful. He changed the focus from the teenager to the woman, and incorporated elements of the Western landscape when he could.

The 49’er’s simple, casual styling continued to be a perfect fit for the emerging suburban lifestyle of post-war America. During the post-war years, it served as one of the easiest solutions for outerwear over all the Baby Boom baby bumps. Parker explains, “I personally think that Ted Rand shares some of the kudos for making the 49’er a household name with his inspired illustrations.”

Ted Rand began illustrating Pendleton ads in 1953. His elegant women and echoes of the Western landscape moved the jacket from the campus to the suburbs, where it became the staple of a woman’s wardrobe. The popularity soared and knock-offs abounded, to the point where the company had to seek legal protection of the design. Yes, the 49’er is a patented jacket!

The earliest 49’er in the Pendleton archives is a red, yellow and chartreuse version owned by Mrs. Sarah Brourink, who sent it to our archives in the year 2000 after wearing it for 51 years. Here is a vintage example in the exact plaid.

In the years of its prime (1949-1961), over a million Pendleton 49’ers were sold to American women. And it continues to sell well now, after re-introduction in the early 2000s. Collectors still chase after the originals, and beautiful examples can be seen on elated bloggers. Our re-issues do extremely well whenever they are included in a Fall or Holiday line.  Whether in the arresting brights of a bold Buchanan tartan, or the shaded colors of a subtle ombre plaid, the silhouette is still unmistakable. Still made of 100% virgin wool woven in our USA mills, the 49’er works dressed up with a skirt and a belt, or dressed down with jeans. Like a good wool men’s shirt, it serves as a go-to second layer for the backyard or the office.

And we’ve had a little fun with our original archival jacket. We brought it out, compared the specs, and refashioned the original design. Back in 1949 the collar points were a little more dramatic, the back shirring more subtle and the length slightly shorter—all details that give our fashion icon a decidedly modern edge and make it new again.


Fashion is fleeting, but style endures. The Pendleton 49’er is a perfect illustration of the adage that quality never goes out of style.


Editor’s note: This post is an update on a favorite post, just as the Nouveau ’49ers are updates to this classic jacket.

Neil Young Performs in Boston before Pendleton Blankets

These shots came to our attention a little after the fact.






The blankets, from left to right, are Arrowhead, Compass Stripe and North Star.



We’ve known Neil Young loved our shirts for a long time. We are honored to be used in a set that transported Neil’s rustic California vibe to the stage of the Wang Theater in Boston.





Happy Halloween from Pendleton and Voodoo Doughnuts!

Editor’s note: Today’s blog post is brought to you by guest blogger Mark Poltorak, who manages the Pendleton employee store. Enjoy it!

Everyone who works at Pendleton’s corporate office has smelled it; that delicious odor of deep-fried donut batter as we leave the building and walk toward Burnside.

A line of patient patrons congests the sidewalks for what seems like 24 hours a day.  We see the iconic pink boxes all over town, in the airport and on TV.

Established in 2003, Voodoo Doughnuts has become an iconic, must-see/eat in the “Keep Portland Weird” tourist scene.  Now, Voodoo has asked Pendleton to create a Voodoo Doughnut blanket that will keep you as warm as those fresh out-of-the-fryer sugary treats.


The blanket features a detailed display of Voodoo icons.  In the center, emerging from the center of the blanket (and a doughnut, of course), we are greeted by none other than Baron Samedi.  Baron Samedi waits at the crossroads between the worlds of the living and the deceased.  He is armed with a shovel and eager to dig the graves and greet the souls of the newly departed.  It is rumored that Baron Samedi can be brought to a swoon with treats (such as doughnuts!).

A comforting sight to balance the grim aura of Baron is the impressive spread of Voodoo’s bread and butter: the doughnuts! Fans of Voodoo will find all their bizarre but delicious favorites: the McMinnville Cream, Neapolitan, Diablos Rex, Sprinkle, Bacon Maple Bar, Portland Cream and Triple Chocolate.

Of course, the blanket wouldn’t be complete without a representation of the most iconic Voodoo doughnut of all! The Voodoo Doll doughnut is featured multiple times.

Long after Baron has claimed us all for his own keeping, this eerie blanket will keep you warm.  Be on the lookout for one at the Voodoo Doughnut site. And remember, “The Magic is in the Hole.”

Thomas Kay is a Man of the World

We’re fans of the stirring photography of the Thomas Kay line for men (from Pendleton Woolen Mills) in the Fall quarterly issue of Man of the World.

“Half Wild” features our Thomas Kay folding campstool, made for us by the artisans of Wood & Faulk.



Yes, we know, it’s so artfully packed over there on the right side that you almost can’t see it, but we like the shot anyway. There’s nothing quite like camping with wool.

“The Big Sky State” captures Montana style with our Thomas Kay Oliver shirt in Macrae Ancient Dress Tartan.





A pickup truck, a good dog and a Pendleton wool shirt. What more could you ask for? Besides that awesome tractor. These are great Big Sky shots from a beautiful publication. Pick up your copy and marvel.

You can check out the rest of the Thomas Kay line here.


Curtis Kulig and Pendleton: the ‘Hermann’ Love Me Blanket

Curtis Kulig has left his signature mark all over the world. He’s achieved star status in the art scene, yet remains “SoHo’s most unexpected nice guy,” according to the New York Times. What else could you expect from a Midwesterner who has made his way in New York City based on one ubiquitous phrase:

love me

We are pleased to offer Curtis Kulig’s collaborative blanket with Pendleton Woolen Mills. Kulig brings his two-word manifesto to life in black and cream. Titled ‘Hermann,’ the design takes its inspiration from famed psychologist Hermann Rorschach to offer what Kulig calls “a bit of Love therapy.”

The title is spot-on, as Kulig’s art relies on the response of the beholder. “love me” might be two simple words, but the response is always complicated. Is it a request, a demand, a plea? Is it made in the spirit of humility, desperation or celebration?

Rorschach, indeed.


Said Kulig, “My dear friend Lindsey Thornburg asked me if I’d like to work with Pendleton and that’s what started the conversation. They are an amazing brand, truly American, and the craftsmanship that goes into every piece is incredible. I’m really honored to design a one of a kind blanket for them.”



The Curtis Kulig “Love Me” Hermann Blanket is produced in Pendleton’s original mill in Pendleton, Oregon. A patch and certificate authenticate the blanket as part of a very limited series. It’s tied with ribbon that bears Curtis Kulig’s signature mark:


This combines for a meaningful presentation, which is currently available at

In Other Style News: Blake Lively in Lindsey Thornburg x Pendleton Cape



Yes, that’s the beautiful Blake Lively in a Lindsey Thornburg cloak! Our Tamiami Trail blanket makes a beautiful outerwear piece.



Blake Lively, fashion icon, offered this cloak on her website, but it appears to be sold out. Check Lindsey’s website! And be sure to read about Lindsey Thornburg’s inspirations on our blog. Her beautiful cloaks are dramatic innovations on the tradition of blanket coats that stretches back to medieval times in Europe. And centuries ago in the Americas, Native weavers made outerwear of their blankets, and adapted the styles to manufactured Trade blankets when they were introduced in the late 1800s. We have to tell you this stuff because we’re Pendleton, and we go back a ways with blankets.

But enough history lessons. For now, just enjoy a few more pictures of a beautiful woman in a beautiful cloak.

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Jennifer Garner, InStyle in Pendleton Blankets

We’re excited about this InStyle shoot with Jennifer Garner, using fall colors in a coastal glamping setting.


On the bike you can see the fall blanket for The Portland Collection. Under Jennifer in the close-up, you can see the Charbonneau blanket, with its beautiful indigo ground.


Above, in the tent, the Charbonneau blanket makes another appearance.


Here’s the legend behind this one:

This beautiful blanket, woven in our American mills, is named after Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Jean Baptiste was the son of Shoshone guide Sacagawea and French Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau. As the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition—and quite possibly the most important—he unwittingly protected it from attacks. Because women and infants were never included in war parties, Native Americans assumed the expedition was on a peaceful mission and let it pass without harm. After spending his childhood in St. Louis under the care of expedition leader Captain William Clark, Jean Baptiste lived in Europe until the lure of the American West called him home. A master of four languages, he spent nearly four decades roaming the far West as an interpreter, guide, magistrate, mountain man and gold prospector. The blanket’s traditional Native American-inspired graphics honor Charbonneau’s Shoshone heritage. (Source:

Jennifer is everyone’s hero right now for her remarks on the Ellen show about her “baby bump.” What a good-natured celebrity response to the pressures of tabloid culture. And, what a beautiful shoot.


Pendleton Pets: Dog Day Afternoon

It’s true that cats rule the Internet. It’s also clear that cats rule Instagram, if you compare the ‘likes’ on a cat Instagram to the ‘likes’ on a dog Instagram. But Man’s Best Friend is long-suffering and waits his turn. Today, we bring you a collection of Pendleton Dogs from Instagram. All photos used with permission.


Lovely morning sunshine and #Pendleton #coffee #lazysunday photo by @laicie #glacierpark #pendledog #dogsofinstagram #homedecor

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

A little terrier, a Glacier National Park Blanket, a cup of coffee. Life is officially complete.


An Irish wolfhound on location at a photoshoot for ROXY with our Bright River blanket.


With a Pendleton wool shirt and a wolf hybrid dog, you’d feel pretty safe in the wilderness.


Dogs like glamping, too.

Spaniels holding court on Heritage and Mill Tribute blankets.


#LazySunday Pendleton style. Thanks @hawthornegirl #Pendleton #staycation #woof #bostonterrier

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

This Boston Terrier cuddles up to two garments from The Portland Collection. That’s one stylish dog.


#Dog naps with #Pendleton. #pendledog #woof #pendletonblankets regram from @collabfashion

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

An elegant dog on one of our most popular and elegant designs, the Glacier National Park blanket.


Another great Pendleton wool shirt, another great dog ready to take on the day.


What to wear today? #Pendleton bandana. #woof #pendledog #wtw #dogsofinstagram #dog regram from @lifewithleroy

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

A Norfolk terrier looking dashing, dapper, and dandy in a Pendleton bandana.


What better way for this big beauty to dry off than a  Pendleton Spa Towel?


Woof woof. #pendledog #woof #Pendleton #pendletonblankets #interiors #decorate #PendletonHome @markatthemuseum

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

Quite a shot with a little Puggle (we think) and the Glacier National Park blanket.


Lola Jane samples some Dawg Grog on her custom blanket made from Sugar Skulls fabric.


…and now for a moment of #zen. #pendledog #woof #Pendleton #pendletontowels #color #dog #swimming #sleepy @thiswildidea

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on

This looks to be one enlightened pup in his Pendleton Spa Towel.


There you have it. You can follow the fun on Instagram @pendletonwm.

Luke Haynes, Fine Arts Quilter, Will Reveal New Work at the Woolen Mill Store

We are excited to invite you to the unveiling of a new quilt created just for us by Luke Haynes. Luke is an artist, and his medium is fabric.

6471836813_112a8cc8c6_o copy

To quote his bio:

­I am an architect turned Quilter. I come from a strong art and design background that informs my quilt work in a different way than is generally associated with quilting. I make quilts to discuss utility in aesthetics and because I like the tactile craft of constructing works out of fabric.



I am interested in the choices we make to express ourselves to our world. We create an environment around ourselves to inform others how we desire to be perceived. By quilting I am initiating a dialogue between the immediate environments we create for ourselves, and the environments we inhabit.

on my bed #1 Tradition 9 copy


Where cloth, what we know to respond to as clothes, linens, drapes and all kinds of covers becomes the language of my work. The cloth becomes the medium that I use to create images and scenes rather than conceal and contain.

The American Context #14 copy

Luke’s works hang in galleries around the world, and he’s been commissioned by private collectors the world over. He’s created something magnificent and astonishing for us. How did this happen, you might ask? Mary and Tawnya, manager and assistant manager of the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, told us the story in e-mail.

Luke Haynes was introduced to us by Michelle Freedman from Modern Domestic Quilt Shop and Susan Beal. Luke visited our store in the spring and asked if we would be interested in a quilt collaboration. We viewed Luke’s website and spoke with Michelle Freedman. We were amazed by his work and agreed. Luke picked out jacquards with a special project in mind. He was also very interested in our plaid fabric which has been made into an amazing suit he will wear during his quilt reveal!

We can’t show you the quilt, but here’s a view of the suit:


We are hosting a special event for this, where everyone can learn about quilting with wool, meet Luke in person (he’s delightful) and share the thrill of the reveal. Our quilt is dizzying and beautiful in photos, and we will be thrilled to have it hanging on permanent display in our store.

Yes, we are just a little excited, can you tell? So please join us!

What: Quilt Reveal with Luke Haynes

When: Thursday, October 30th from 1 PM to 7 PM, with reveal at approximately 1:30 PM

Where: The Woolen Mill Store




Pendleton Signature Coats. Oh. My. Gosh.

Pendleton Signature Coats are available now at pendleton-usa, and you’re going to love them.


These stunning coats are an expanded outerwear offering in Pendleton’s classic women’s line. Traditional silhouettes have been reinterpreted with exceptional styling and craftsmanship.



PeaCoatThe function of each coat is as important as the fashion. Materials are a range of weather-repellent tech fabrics and pure Pendleton wool, including our signature Native American-inspired jacquard-woven blanket fabric.

HardingWrapDuffels, trenches, parkas and more mean that we have a coat for every lifestyle.


Plaid-woolEach style has unique details that include top-stitching, piecing, signature buttons, fur trims, quilting, pockets, even shoulder rain capes to secure and cover bag straps.



Pendleton has a long history as lifestyle brand, and outerwear has always been a strong category. Since the 1940s, we’ve made coats so durable and beautiful that some are still worn today.


Our Pendleton Signature Coats live up to our highest standards with the authenticity you expect.


These are just some of the styles available.  Go see’em!





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